When I shared with y'all about the Madsen bike earlier this week there were so many good and important questions in the comments section that I wanted to be able to answer. But, since my sister Rebecca is really now the Madsen expert, she volunteered out of the goodness of her heart to guest post today (is it still called guest posting if you don't actually have a home-blog?). I'll just be peppering in photos for visual aid.
Honestly, y'all? I'm so excited! I love my big sister and I'm thrilled to get to share her with you! She is the one who encouraged me to start sewing again, the one who adopts babies from Africa and who makes me giggle out loud when she sends me emails. You don't have to love her as much as I do. But you might be tempted to. She's lovely.
Introducing, my very first guest blogger Rebecca Faires on the topics of eavesdropping, heckling and that gorgeous blue bicycle:
Please excuse me as I gush about my bike.
Is it hard to ride with kids in the bucket?
This bike has a pretty sweet gearing system, so the weight of the bike and the cargo don’t feel as heavy as they really are. When I only had one kid (so, I mean a year a ago) I rode my bike to get to work and to church. I used a regular kid’s bike seat behind my seat. Beatrice and I managed fine, but as she got older, she could really make the bike wobble if she swayed or kicked. I knew we would be adopting Moses and Augustine, and I didn’t want to lose the joy of cycling, so when I first saw the Madsen bucket, my little heart leapt for joy.
Now a year later, as I ride over the same hills, I am able to pull more weight in the Madsen in the places where I would have had to get off and walk with the regular bike and kid seat. And I just had a baby two months ago, so it’s not like I’m stronger now than I was then.
The bike has four seatbelts and two benches, so the four kids face each other. I find that if I put two kids facing backwards I can get up most hills by just standing up on the pedals. Once I add a third kid I can’t muscle up steep hills without walking. (My kids weigh 37lbs, 29lbs and 26lbs. Rowan weighs an adorable 12lbs, but he doesn’t get to ride in the bike yet.)
On mostly flat surfaces it’s a pleasure to ride with a full bucket of kids.
Is it fun for kids?
My favorite cycling experiences have been eavesdropping on Oliver and Beatrice chatting together in the bucket. They feel like they are on an adventure. My kids always want to ride on the bike with me.
Does the Madsen make you famous?
Yes. The Madsen is quite a looker, and she gets a lot of attention. I’m hoping this will contribute to our safety…if people are lookin’, then I’m safer. I’ve never seen a bike like this in Franklin, and I don’t think anyone else has either so I’ve had several people take pictures of us while we ride, and one woman slowed down her truck to drive beside me to take pictures and discuss. I just keep peddling and smiling.
I met Mom and Raechel for dinner downtown last month and I parked the bike in front of the restaurant window so we (maybe just me) could enjoy the lively interest from passersby. I feel like a doting mama of my bike.
Does it kill you not to put Rowan in the bucket?
Holy yes. My freedom from my minivan will be complete when Rowan can join us in the bike. We have put together a rear facing insert with a five point harness and neck support that is fantastic, and I have ridden him around the cul de sac, but we’re waiting for his neck to get a little stronger before we let him join the gang.
What else do you haul, apart from children?
So far, I’ve gone grocery shopping with two children and fit a week’s worth of groceries in the bucket. It felt awesome.
Are you afraid someone is going to steal the bike?
I don’t think so. It comes with a lock installed over the wheel and a key that I remove when I’m away from the bike. The bike can't move without the key in place. Also, it would be hard to hide if they wanted to ride it around in Franklin.
Are you worried about stopping when you haul heavy loads?
No, because this sucker has disc brakes. When I go down big hills, these brakes have done me right.
Is it safe for kids climbing in and out?
Ok, this is maybe the coolest part. The kickstand has two feet, so when it's down it makes a stable tripod with the front wheel and the bike stands straight up on it's own. I love this because my kids can climb in and out without me, and if someone falls asleep on a long ride I can just leave them in the bucket without fear of them falling over. A few days ago, while the boys were napping, Beatrice and I sat in the bucket together to sing The Ballad of Davy Crockett and to eat chocolate chips.
Any weird experiences?
Ok. At our Kroger they employ a man to stand outside and heckle you as you go in and out of their store. It is usually enough to keep me away from Kroger, so they really are wasting their money on the heckler. But last week the heckler saw me and my kids on the bike and expressed his admiration, “That’s a nice bike. I bet you got that from Walmart. That must have cost $300. But it definitely came from Walmart.” Then upon further inspection he reconsidered, “That must have cost $300, maybe $350!”
I didn’t really know what to say. I hope he didn’t go to Walmart looking for it.
The money. How can you spend so much money for a bike?
Ok. Fair enough. It took me a year to save up the money, and even with a discount it is an expensive bike. Especially for me, because I’m so stingy with money.
I bought it for the avoidance of car seats. Getting four children in and out of car seats is just above the seventh level of hell. Five points on four children means I have to interest myself in 40 points just to get to the grocery store and back. Also the children get hot and bored and cry in the car. Also, I hate going anywhere on gas when I could use my own power to get there.
Also, I bought the bike for joy. I think in a month I have already gotten my money’s worth out of it.
I ride it almost everyday, and everyday my heart sings as I pedal and parent at the same time.
Disclosure of Material Connection: We received the Madsen kg271 mentioned above at a discounted price in exchange for a mention of the product in my blog. Which we already did. This post is just because we love the bike. And more, I love my readers. If y'all have questions, I'm glad to help!